As the fourth industrial revolution continues to unfold, Industry 4.0 technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and blockchain are reshaping the way we approach manufacturing and logistics. Smart industries rely on Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) to keep their systems running.
OT refers to the hardware and software systems used to monitor, control, and manage physical devices, processes, and operations in various industries. Unlike IT, which primarily deals with data and information management, OT focuses on the management and control of physical systems and processes—the two work together to make smart manufacturing a reality.
At the Smart Industry Summit, Sam Muthui, CISO, Blurok Africa, Gilbert Mutai, Head of ICT, Car & General Ltd, Cephas O. Okal, Advisory Board Chairman – CISO Alliances Kenya, and Sam Muthui, CISO, Blurok Africa, discussed strategies for OT cybersecurity practices. Judy Ngure, an Information Security Consultant, moderated the panel discussion.
Cybersecurity strategy: The experts also advised organizations setting up their OT infrastructure to have a robust cybersecurity strategy in place. The strategy should include a cyber incident response plan that outlines what the organization should do in the event of a cybersecurity incident. These steps include security audits and a backup plan in case the systems are compromised. The panel advised that organizations segregate the IT and OT networks and regulate access to protect the latter. They should have a response team to deal with a cybersecurity incident.
Data policy: Developing a comprehensive data policy in OT is essential to ensure data integrity, security, and compliance with industry regulations. Organizations should have a data policy to govern the collection, storage, use, sharing, and protection of data generated and used within the OT environment. For example, the policy should define what data is collected, including types of sensors and devices used, and clearly state who owns the data generated within the OT environment, whether it’s the organization, specific departments, or third-party service providers. It should also address cybersecurity measures to protect OT data from unauthorized access, manipulation, and breaches. This includes encryption, access controls, and network segmentation.
Budget: Another issue that came up is budget allocation for OT cybersecurity. The experts advised companies to allocate resources to secure their OT. They highlighted that larger companies would incur more budget expenses compared to smaller companies. Allocating the right budget size for OT cybersecurity is essential to protect critical infrastructure, mitigate cyber risks, comply with regulations, and maintain the resilience of industrial control systems. It enables organizations to allocate resources effectively and proactively address the unique challenges posed by OT environments’ cybersecurity needs.
The Smart Industry brought together industry experts, thought leaders and key decision-makers to discuss the latest advancements in technology and its impact on the manufacturing and supply chain industry.